About this artwork

This portrait was painted shortly after the Allan’s return from Italy in 1779. It is believed to represent Ann Harker (1730-90). In 1775 she became the second wife of the highly successful gem engraver and modeller James Tassie. They were married in London on 25 December, but very little is known about her. Allan and Tassie, the most distinguished pupils of The Foulis Academy, in Glasgow, remained lifelong friends and occasional collaborators. Allan’s painted a pendant portrait of Tassie, which is in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery collection (PG 576). When Tassie died in 1799, his nephew William took management of the family business. In 1860, William bequeathed this portrait and its pendant to the newly opened National Gallery of Scotland as part of the foundation collection.

  • title:
    Ann Harker (1730-1790), wife of James Tassie
  • accession number:
    NG 415
  • artist:
  • gallery:
  • object type:
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • date created:
    1778 - 1779
  • measurements:
    75.80 x 63.20 cm (framed: 90.60 x 77.70 x 7.60 cm)
  • credit line:
    Bequest of William Tassie 1860
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve

David Allan

David Allan

Allan was born in Alloa, on the River Forth, and attended the Foulis Academy in Glasgow for seven years. In 1767 he moved to Rome, where he lived for ten years; this was the most successful period of his life. In Rome, Allan painted ambitious historical pictures, portraits, caricatures and genre scenes. On returning to London in 1777, he spent two years trying to establish himself. Unsuccessful and ill, he returned to Scotland where he specialised in painting family groups. He also produced book illustrations and was appointed the master of the Trustees' Academy at Edinburgh.